For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
…A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for thats the stuff life is made of.
Time is Life
Each day comes with a package of 24 hours, distributed to all equally. It is up to us to make the most of the 24 hours in each day that are given to all of us. There is so much to do and so little time is the common complaint these days. Within these 24 hours we have to work, sleep, take care of our body and mind, look after our families, pursue our hobbies, and keep our mothers-in-law in good humor. We have to utilize these hours to grow, produce, and progress by managing time properly. Managing the fixed quota 24 hours effectively leads to fulfilling all our responsibilities and enhances our quality of life personally and professionally. When managed properly time yields the highest returns on energy invested.
For sales professionals time is money. They do not get paid in terms of the numbers of hours worked – to “punch a clock”. They are paid to produce results – sales results via sales numbers. So it’s imperative that sales professionals should manage their time properly and make the most of it. Time management is a critical skill for professional happiness. On it hinges your income, your home, all your dreams, and aspirations. Remember, you can’t manage time; all you can do is manage yourself with respect to time.
The art of managing time is based on a few simple and proven techniques. Only with practice can it become an ingrained habit that can produce amazing sales results.
- Get Organized: Getting organized is the first step towards managing time effectively. Highly successful sales people have their calendars chalked out for a year in advance. Create an organizer and schedule your tasks according to your top sales priorities. List the things to do. Minutes make an hour, so enter your plans to do things to the tiniest minute. Three minutes to scan the headlines should mean three minutes and not a minute more. Also, prepare a log book of time spent on daily activities. Maintain the log book religiously and enter activities of each day before bedtime. Do a weekly review of this to find out where you are spending/wasting your time and apportion that extra time to something worthwhile. Weed out unproductive activities.
- Visualize your action plan for the full day. Do it after the morning work out or the previous evening
- Delegate tasks to others to save time. Things that can be done by your assistant, subordinates, family, or others should be handed over to them. Compensate and praise them well and they will feel good about being entrusted with the responsibilities of completing a task as well as earning something extra.
- Do not procrastinate. It is the biggest time stealer. Finish off things as and when scheduled. If possible “beat deadlines, do not just try to meet them”.
- Some sales executives take up the easy jobs first and keep the most difficult ones towards the end. Tackle the difficult tasks first. You may require accomplishing one or two easy tasks to warm up. That’s perfect. But then you should target the difficult jobs. You will be amazed how fast they get done when taken head-on. Then you will have plenty of time for easier tasks.
- Staying clear of negative thoughts and negative people is a huge time saver. Both can sap energy, reduce productivity, and consume a lot of time. Once you slip into the whirlpool of negative thoughts it will take considerable time to snap out of it. It’s absolutely necessary to entertain only positive and good thoughts. Also, it’s advisable to shun the company of negative people and mingle with positive and optimistic people. Steer clear of negative thoughts and stay positive.
- Use your down or wait times creatively. As a sales professional, you probably spend a lot of time in your car in traffic getting to your next appointment. Why not take this time to make phone calls to your prospects We all wait at traffic lights, wait to meet managers, wait to get food served, wait for our secretary to finish preparing the report, wait in lines to pay bills etc. Utilize these times creatively to aid in enhancing your sales productivity.
- The above time-saving tips are based more on common sense. There are other time saving and productivity enhancing tips that are backed by solid research as well.
- Analysis of revenue growth curves of successful sales professionals reveal that it’s not important how much total time they spend on sales activities rather than how they allot their time. Super salespeople from financially high performing companies working for high incentives and stock options allow 40% more time to their best potential customers and spend an additional 3-4 hours on high-value sales activities than their counterparts do in financially low performing companies. A survey conducted by Watson Wyatt of 841 salespeople from 500 companies with large sales forces has established this. Sales reps at successful companies dwell more on identifying customer needs and spend more time with the leads that they know.
- The survey also establishes that high sales performers spend less time on administrative work – 30% less than the low performers. Administrative work should be delegated to administrative staff, the secretary, or should be kept to a minimum. The best salespeople do all non-related sales activities between 6-8am and 6-8pm. 8am-5pm is defined as prime selling time to get “belly-to-belly” with a decision-maker.
Timing is Everything
In sales, timing is everything – at what time to make a sales call, at what time to make a presentation, when to talk, when to listen, and when to close a sale. It may not require the precision of a Scientist, but nevertheless, it requires a proper sense of timing. A super salesperson knows that there is an appropriate time to meet the CEO of a company when he or she would be in a relaxed and receptive mood. Also, there is an appropriate time to close a sale without allowing it to linger.
There is a time for everything. There is a time to work and a time to rest as there is a time to talk and a time to remain silent. This is the essence of time management. Wise salespeople know this and understand it fully.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided.
Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching
Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)